The U.S. Senate Wednesday put its finishing touches on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Finance Committee and Senate President Pro tempore, signed the agreement, the final step before the agreement heads to the White House.
President Donald Trump was previously expected to sign the agreement sometime this week. The ceremony Wednesday signals the end is close after the nearly three-year process of renegotiating the agreement, then further negotiations to gain U.S. congressional approval. President Trump, in January 2017, announced his intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The trade talks started in May of that year. A deal was reached in September of 2018 between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
Senator Deb Fischer, a Republican from Nebraska who attended the ceremony Wednesday, says she is “proud that this critical trade agreement has finally come across the finish line.” President Donald Trump told the American Farm Bureau Federation on Sunday, that USMCA, and the agreement with China, “are just the beginning,” as his administration seeks more trade agreements.
VIDEO: President Donald Trump Speaks about USMCA at the Recent Farm Bureau Convention
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today joined Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), as well as Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and several other of her Senate colleagues, for the Senate signing of the bipartisan United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act.
Senator Fischer’s full remarks:
I just want to thank Chairman Grassley. He has been very tenacious on getting this agreement done.
And the other guy who has been tenacious for a number of years is Chairman Roberts.
To have them both chair these important committees and be able to continue to advocate for trade agreements, which are so important for our states, has been tremendous.
Thanks to the president for sticking with this, for keeping his words.
And thank you to Ambassador Lighthizer, because he really pushed on this as well and was able to get it across the finish line.
This is a remarkable achievement—to be able to have a bipartisan trade agreement that passed overwhelmingly in the United States Senate.
Agriculture is the economic engine of my state, of Nebraska.
One in four jobs are directly related to production agriculture.
54,000 jobs are related in Nebraska to exports.
$13.8 billion in economic activity from my state is related to agriculture.
To be able to have these kind of agreements, whether it is USMCA or a trade agreement with China or a great agreement now with Japan that we have and now we are looking over into the UK and the EU, and really all across the globe, in order to find more customers for the great products that we produce.
Whether it’s in ag, manufacturing, or small businesses, families and communities across Nebraska are going to benefit from all of these trade agreements.
I’m just really proud of the work we have been able to do in working together with the administration and with my great colleagues here in the United States Senate in order to get these agreements done, and especially the USMCA, with our top two trading partners, Mexico and Canada.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer, a member of Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the Senate passed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“Nebraska’s families, ag producers, and manufacturers depend on access to Canada and Mexico, our state’s two largest export markets. I am happy that Congress got this deal done and look forward to President Trump signing it, securing great opportunities for Nebraska.”
Nebraska Ag and Manufacturing Information:
– In 2017, Nebraska sent nearly 900 million dollars of ag products to Mexico and nearly 450 million dollars of ag products to Canada
– Agriculture trade between Canada and Mexico supports nearly 54,000 Nebraska jobs
– The value of total Nebraska exports to Mexico and Canada in 2018 was $3.5 billion
– More than 300 Nebraska manufacturing firms depend on exports to Mexico and Canada
– In 2018, Nebraska exported $2.2 billion in manufacturing goods to Mexico and Canada
The Senate is hopeful to vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement this morning. After quickly advancing the agreement through required committee approvals, the Senate will consider the agreement ahead of the impeachment trial next week.
However, the Senate is not in session Friday, leaving little time to debate and pass the implementing legislation. Thought to be delayed until after the impeachment trial, the Senate moved up committee hearings to include USMCA passage during a busy week in Washington. The same day President Donald Trump signed the China agreement, the House of Representatives sent articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Now, the Senate must make the impeachment trial a priority, which is expected to begin Tuesday. Action by the Senate would move USMCA to President Trump’s desk for his signature. The signing of the agreement would signal Canada to approve the agr
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) voted to advance the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The agreement passed the committee by a bipartisan vote. The full Senate is expected to vote on the agreement tomorrow, sending it to President Trump’s desk for signature.
Senator Fischer spoke on the importance of the agreement to Nebraska families, ag producers, manufacturers, and businesses.
Click here to view or download the video
Senator Fischer’s full remarks:
“Mr. Chairman, and fellow members of the committee:
“When I travel across Nebraska, I hear directly from our families, ag producers, manufacturers, and businesses about how important the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement would be.
“Let me explain specifically how this deal brings economic certainty to our state.
“Agriculture is the economic engine of Nebraska, and the USMCA is critical for farmers and ranchers.
“Currently, Canada and Mexico receive 44 percent of Nebraska’s total exports.
“In 2017 alone, our state sent nearly 900 million dollars of ag products to Mexico and nearly 450 million dollars of ag products to Canada.
“Agriculture trade between Canada and Mexico supports nearly 54,000 jobs in Nebraska.
“Importantly, the USMCA maintains and strengthens markets for corn and soybeans.
“It also allows U.S. beef producers to continue to grow their exports to Mexico – which have risen 800 percent since NAFTA was first ratified.
“In 2018 alone, Nebraska exported over 250 million dollars of beef to both countries.
“According to Nebraska Department of Agriculture reports, our state’s 6.4 billion dollars in agricultural exports in 2017 led to nearly 8.2 billion dollars in additional economic activity in our state.
“But let’s not forget that the benefits of the USMCA extend far beyond our farm and ranchland.
“Nebraska’s manufacturers rely on America’s neighbors to the north and south, and a modernized trade deal means good-paying manufacturing jobs for our state.
“More than 300 Nebraska manufacturing firms depend on exports to Canada and Mexico.
“These manufacturing jobs tend to be full-time, pay high wages, and offer major opportunities for workers.
“In 2018, Nebraska exported $6.5 billion in manufacturing goods to the world—and $2.2 billion of that went to Mexico and Canada.
“The USMCA represents a bipartisan agreement that will benefit Nebraska families and all of the American people.
“It’s high time to unite around this common-sense trade deal and push the USMCA over the finish line.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggests the Senate will vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement this week. Bloomberg News expects a vote Thursday, as the Senate committees required to sign off on the implementing legislation are doing so quickly. However, a final vote has not been confirmed.
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the agreement on a vote of 16-4 Tuesday morning. The Senate Budget Committee also approved the trade agreement Tuesday. Up next, the bill must be approved by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, along with the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee today (Wednesday).
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee changed its hearing from Thursday to today (Wednesday), and the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to do the same, sending the agreement to the full Senate for approval.
The House of Representatives is expected to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week, but the trials won’t likely start until next week, offering a small window of opportunity for the Senate to pass the agreement.
Impeachment hearings are expected to now delay Senate consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The House of Representatives will vote this week to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.
Senate leaders say the impeachment trial would last roughly two weeks, with members in session six days a week. That pushes any timeline for USMCA approval into February. Meanwhile, following approval of the implementing legislation in the Senate Finance Committee last week, other committees needing to approve the agreement are doing so quickly this week. The Environment and Public Works Committee, along with with the Senate Budget Committee, both scheduled hearings Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will consider the agreement Wednesday morning, along with the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Finally, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider the agreement Thursday morning. However, impeachment must take priority in the Senate, therefor holding up final approval of the agreement until after the impeachment process.
The Senate committees tasked with markup and approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement are planning to do so quickly. The agreement must be approved through the committees before reaching the full Senate. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, who’s panel has already approved the agreement, Thursday said, “it takes just a short period of time” for other committees to review the implementing legislation.
However, the impeachment impasse could end as early as Friday, further casting a cloud on just when the full Senate will consider USMCA. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she’ll send the articles of impeachment “when I’m ready,” indicating that could be soon.
Meanwhile, Senate Leader Mitch McConnel says the Senate will move on with other work until Pelosi sends the articles of impeachment. And, Grassley says the Senate is “not going to dilly-dally around while we’re waiting to see what Speaker Pelosi wants to do on impeachment,” adding, the Senate committees will act very quickly next week.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement timeline remains uncertain. However, lawmakers in the certain seem certain they will pass the agreement, at the latest, following impeachment hearings.
The House is still holding the articles of impeachment, alleging the Senate won’t agree to a fair trial. At issue is the Senate must make impeachment a priority. Depending on how long a further review of USMCA takes in the Senate, and how long House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds the articles of impeachment, will change the trajectory of USMCA.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the agreement this week. However, a Senate parliamentarian has determined that eight other Senate committees must offer approval of the agreement. However, U.S. law states the agreement will be discharged from those committees in 15 days, regardless of approval.
If Nancy Pelosi sends articles of impeachment to the Senate between now and whenever the committees approve the agreement, perhaps next week, the USMCA implementing legislation would have to wait until the impeachment trial is over, likely at the end of this month.